Achy Arms and Shoulders?

Catch in the shoulder with your forehand in tennis? Achy arms affecting your swim?

Properly termed rotator cuff tendinopathy, most shoulder pain is due to overload of one of the rotator cuff muscles. Due to the repetitive nature of swimming or other above head activities like tennis serving, over-training, fatigue, tightness, weakness, poor technique and even mental stress can lead to shoulder overload. 

The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body, so the muscles controlling it have a huge job to do, and need to be really strong particularly in athletes who train hard.  Our top three exercises to keep the shoulder mobile and strong:

1. Pec stretch – 30 secs, 3 times daily, plus self massage

2. “W” arms – Standing with dumbbells by your side. Lift your arms up to form the letter ‘W’. Return back to the starting position and repeat 3 sets of 10 reps. Choose a weight that causes you to fatigue by 10 reps. Perform this once per day. When this gets easy, you can either increase the weight or increase the reps.  

3. Sleeper stretch – Please perform this stretch with caution. If done incorrectly, it can flare your pain. lying on your affected side, use the opposite hand to push the forearms towards the bed. You should feel a gentle stretch in the shoulder. 30 secs, 3 times daily.

Rotator cuff tendinopathy does result in swelling and inflammation. So, if painful, ice your shoulder for 15 minutes several times per day. Finally, with all injuries, it is important to work with your coach to identify technical flaws that are contributing to the injury. So listen closely to your coach and work hard at perfect practice. The physios at Ascend are all athletes themselves and know what it takes. Call now on 9387 2699 and let us inspire you to achieve your peak performance.

This article was originally published on the 24th Feb 2017 titled “Shoulder Dysfunction in Swimming” and has been updated for freshness.